What’s the vital quality that enables people to pursue their dreams, turn ideas into reality, to change the way they live? Is it passion, enthusiasm, skills, time and space to do it? Clearly, these are all important, but what emerged from participants at our KickstartYourCreativity course was none of these are any good without confidence.
Feeling good about yourself, your choices, trusting your instincts, your decisions to explore certain ideas, to believe they have value, is difficult if you lack creative confidence. Confidence is linked to our sense of entitlement. If we know we have the right to return a pair of shoes, we feel confident marching up to the counter, demanding (in the nicest possible way) a refund. However, if we sense we’re in a legal grey area, unsure of our rights, we feel hesitant, may put it off, or make do with something we don’t want.
The same goes for developing the creative muscle. If you stop for a moment and think about what inhibits your creative confidence, chances are you’ll hear a host of negative voices – whether from childhood, school, or work – along the lines of ‘you’re no good at playing the flute/making pastry/it won’t get you a job/how will it help our sales?…’
What these voices basically say is: ‘You don’t have the right to be creative.’ This school of thought believes creativity is innate – like blue eyes, we have it or don’t have it. However, science proves differently. In 1968 NASA gave 1,600 5-year-olds a creativity test used to select innovative engineers and scientists. The same children were re-tested at ages 10 and 15. 98% at age 5 registered genius level creativity, 30% at 10 year and 12% at 15 years of age. The same test given to 280,000 adults placed their genius level creativity at only 2%.
The conclusion: creativity is something we can learn and unlearn. So, consider ways to reconnect with your creative gene: play, explore, experiment, have fun. Or as Anton Chekov said: ‘If you want to work on your art, work on your life.’
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